Facebook Messenger beats Apple and WhatsApp with this clever new payment feature

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This is the first time Messenger has extended p2p payments since launching in the USA in 2015, and since then, p2p payments in Messenger have been widely used to make life more seamless. It's the first time Facebook has launched the feature outside of the US.

The social networking giant this week launched peer-to-peer payments on the Messenger app in the United Kingdom - a full two years after the feature was available in the United States. To use the feature, one must register their banking and card details with Facebook Messenger.

How does Facebook Messenger payments work?

David Marcus, the head of Messenger, said introducing a tool to "socially" transfer small amounts of money had proved appealing. According to research by Kenshoo published in December 2016, 53% of French Internet users and 48% of U.K. Internet users had Facebook Messenger.

Once you've done this, tap Pay and add your debit card. This opens the chat extension drawer, and the first thing you see should be a green "Cash" icon in order to send money without leaving the chat app.

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And while it already features everything from locations to safety alerts, users of the Messenger add-on on their phone will soon also be able to send money via the app.

Because the service is not a direct bank-to-bank offering, it is not part of the Faster Payment scheme, which could mean 1-3 days wait before money is in the recipient's account - though, we're assured it is not "simply resting in Facebook's account", Father Ted style.

Payments will be protected by a PIN system to prevent fraud and augmented by its M digital assistant, which will issue a handy prompt when someone asks for money.

To make it even easier and more convenient to send and receive money, Facebook is also rolling out M suggestions for payments.

Other firms in the USA market include Square, which lets users swap money via its "Cash" app, and Paypal, which acquired payment service Venmo.

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